Find out what streaming services and broadcasters are looking for in terms of content, and how to pitch each of them properly. What other funding resources and platforms exist for Canadian comedy creators that aren’t NFTs?
The comedians contributing bring a wide range of perspectives, and are joined by industry experts.
Martha Chaves is an award-winning comedian, writer, and actor whose career spans over two decades. Now Magazine describes her as “smart, sassy, provocative, and very funny.” She’s also a Stand-up Comedy Instructor at Humber College in the Comedy: Writing and Performance program.Martha has appeared multiple times at the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, and the We Are Funny That Way Festival, to name a few. Martha describes herself as the “most famous Nicaraguan-Canadian LGBTQ+ stand-up comedian in the world.” Still, despite being an act of such a unique nature, she’s hilariously relatable, universally funny and accessible. She tours from coast to coast as a headliner for Yuk-Yuks (Canada’s premiere chain of comedy clubs) and is also in high demand for corporate performances, conferences, and speaking engagements.
She can frequently be heard on CBC’s The Debaters and Laugh Out Loud. She is a regular panellist on the popular CBC show Because News. Martha also starred in two TV specials broadcast nationally: Comics! on CBC and Something About Martha on CTV and the Comedy Network. Martha was named 2018’s Stand-up Comic of the Year by the Canadian Comedy Awards after being nominated seven years in a row. Her debut album, CHUNKY SALSA, was included in a list of 2019’s best comedy records in InterrobangMagazine. Martha has written and acted in several successful one-woman shows as a playwright. “Staying Alive” and “In Times of Trouble” were featured in the Soulo Festival and the Aluna Theatre Festival in Toronto, respectively. “The Diaries of a Young Lezbo” premiered at SOLOCOM in New York City.
Judy is Canada’s Keynote Humourist. She is a comedian, motivational speaker (including Ted Talks), radio host (her podcast Laugh Long and Prosper was voted 'one of the best podcasts of 2021' by CTV), Second City stand up coach and author. She has worked with many celebrities including; John Cleese, Jon Stewart and Joan Rivers. Her specials have appeared on NBC, CBS, CTV and The Comedy Network.She is a co-author of ‘From the Stage to the Page: Life Lessons from Four Funny Ladies!” Judy draws from her stand up and coaching experience to entertain, inform and inspire in her dynamic presentation entitled; 'Relieving Work-Related Stress with Humour'. She is a regular volunteer with City Street Outreach – a program that feeds Toronto’s homeless and needy. Judy is the creator/host of ‘Laughlines’ and ‘Stand Up for The Girls’ which have both helped raise over $650,000 for breast cancer research.
Ajahnis Charley (they/them/that bitch) is a Black, Non-Binary comedian and is the Just For Laughs’ New Face of Comedy: Canada. Well, one of them. But look how pretty they are! They are an alum of The Second City and they star in the HBO miniseries Station Eleven and Bell Media sitcom Shelved. They’ve story edited for upcoming comedy series Bria Mack Gets A Life, Stay Tooned, Dirts and has written news satire for platforms This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Beaverton and Because News. If you hear a pun about butts in Canadian media, they likely had something to do with it.The National Film Board produced Ajahnis' award-winning directorial debut, I AM GAY. Spoiler alert: they are very gay. Their international hit solo show THOTS & PRAYERS played at Toronto, Montreal, and New York Sketch Comedy Festivals. Ajahnis is a co-founder and co-producer of the Untitled Black Sketch Project, Canada's first all-Black sketch ensemble, unless Joe Pesci wants to join. Ajahnis is obsessed with Joe Pesci.
Christel Bartelse is an Actor/Comedic Performer, Storyteller, Clown, Writer, and Educator. She got her start in comedy and improv with the Physical Comedy Duo "The Burnt Marshmallows (Canadian Comedy Award Nominees). She has created and written six award winning Solo Shows "Chaotica", "ONEymoon", "Significant Me", "All KIDDIng Aside", "The Surprise" and "Encore" and has toured them all across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. She's seen on stages all over the Toronto Comedy Scene with her Character work and physical comedy.
She is the Co-Producer and Co-Host of the hit Storytelling Show "But That's Another Story" along with Briane Nasimok and also produces and hosts a Variety show in the city, "Chis and Christel's Collection" showcasing top talent in the city. Christel teaches numerous workshops in improv, physical comedy, and solo creation around the city and is proud faculty member of Humber College, Toronto Film School, and George Brown College. christelbartelse.com
Born in Ottawa, Ontario Allison Dore started her career in the entertainment industry as an actor. It wasn’t until her older brother, renowned comedian Jon Dore, encouraged her to try stand-up that she got introduced to the world of comedy. Years later, down a long and winding road, it lead her to Sirius XM Canada as a talk show host. It was here where Allison found her true passion in interviewing people and sharing their stories.Currently, Allison hosts the popular SiriusXM Canada Talks (ch. 167) show The Breakdown airing LIVE weekdays from 3-5pm ET. In September 2018, Allison founded Howl & Roar Records, a female centric comedy record label. 70% of the label’s focus is creating content with women in comedy, leaving space to work with anyone who needs support in the industry. The goal is to empower artists and amplify voices not always being heard in entertainment. Allison is a highly coveted speaker and host and shares her story of battling mental illness and addiction in order to bring hope to those who are currently struggling.
Vance Banzo is a Saulteaux/Cree comedian, actor, and writer born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. Currently residing in Toronto, Ontario, Vance is a proud member of award-winning sketch comedy troupe and Series, TALLBOYZ. The second season of the series received three 2022 CSA nominations, winning in all categories. In addition to writing and starring in the series, he was also a contributing director in the third season. As a comedian he has performed on many stages across the country, including Just For Laughs Toronto and the Gchi Dewin Indigenous Storytelling Festival.
Brandon Hackett is a Toronto-based comedian, actor and TV Writer. He served as an ExecutiveStory Editor on the upcoming sitcom Shelved, and as a Producer on The Next Step Season 28. He has also written for the shows The Popularity Papers, Run the Burbs, Tall Boyz, This Hour Has 22Minutes and The Beaverton, the latter two garnering Canadian Screen Award nominations forBest Writing in Variety or Sketch Comedy. Brandon is currently developing projects with three production companies, including his pilot Burn It All Down with Pier 21 Films, and another for which he is Showrunner. He also participated in BIPOC TV & Film’s inaugural Showrunner Bootcamp (2021). On the performance side, Brandon is an alumnus of the Second City Mainstage in Toronto, where he co-wrote and performed in four revues. He also recently co-starred in the upcoming movie Paige Darcy and the Case of the Stoned Cat.
Rick worked as a Police Officer for 20 years and left policing to pursue a comedy career. He has shared the stage with Gerry Dee, Derek Edwards, Mike MacDonald, Pete Zedlacher, Brent Butt and Jason Alexander. He also started the Timmins Comedy Festival and has helped to raise thousands of dollars for non-for-profit organizations. In March 2023, he released his first comedy album entitled 'The Cops Can't STOP me NOW!'.
Simon is an improviser who first sought out the art form during his undergrad to strengthen his presentation and social skills. The classes he took in Guelph’s The Making-Box instilled in him skills that he applied in his extracurricular activities for the rest of his undergrad, and now in his day job serving newcomers and immigrants. His current favourite part about improv is the connection it sparks between people who don’t share the same language. He lives, works, and improvises in what’s currently called Niagara where he hopes to see more incentive for artists from bigger cities to bring their specialties like clown or musical improv into the region.
Lisa was recently featured in an article on CBC Hamilton which detailed her journey as a transgender film producer. Her short films, What If , and Death Game, have appeared at film festivals across the globe. Other projects she has produced include RU Curious and Digging Up Dorothy. Lisa produced the short drama, Stroke of Fate, starring award-winning Canadian actress Sheila McCarthy, currently airing on CBC Gem. Lisa is also the author of Becoming Lisa: A Transgender Journey. She was nominated for Best Actress in her film What If at the Las Vegas Global Film Convention. Her team received funding from Film4Ward to produce the short film Ramblings Of A Middle Aged Drag Queen filmed in PEI. The award-winning comedy series she Created and Produced, Pink Is In, is now airing on Bell Fibe TV1 and Amazon US and UK. Pink Is In has won three Film Festival Awards and was nominated for the ACTRA 2022 Series Ensemble Award.
Andrew Barnsley is an Emmy and Golden Globe winning Executive Producer (Best Comedy Series) based in Toronto and Los Angeles. He is a six-time Canadian Screen Award winning Executive Producer. He is the CEO of Toronto-based Project 10 Productions Inc. and the President of the Toronto Film School.Barnsley is currently an Executive Producer on CBC’s 26 x ½ hour comedy series Son Of A Critch. He recent producing credits include CBC/PopTV’s 80 x ½ hour Schitt’s Creek starring Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, CTV/Bell Media’s 24 x ½ hour comedy series Jann starring Jann Arden and Amazon Prime’s 8 x ½ hour reboot of Kids In The Hall.Since 2001, Barnsley has produced content across multiple genres and formats including comedy, animation, live-action, children’s, documentary and multiple live concert specials.Barnsley is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America, the Canadian Media Producers Association, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (USA) and the Academy of Canadian Film & Television. He holds an MA in Communications and Culture from Ryerson and York Universities, a BAA from Ryerson University’s Radio and Television Arts Program and a BEd from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Spencer Griffin, Just For Laugh’s Head of TV Development, has sold and developed scripted and unscripted projects for HBO, Amazon, Hulu, Starz, CW, SyFy, NBCU, Sony Pictures Animation, Freeform, TruTV, E!, CBC, Comedy Central, Audible & more. And has been an Executive Producer for shows Adam Ruins Everything (TruTV), Comedy Music Hall of Fame (IFC), Humour Resources (CBC), The Middle of the Night Show (MTV), Hot Date (PopTV), Bad Internet (YT Red), Rhett & Link's Buddy System (YT Red), I Want My Phone Back (Facebook Watch), & more. Spencer has previously held executive and development positions at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Big Breakfast, and CollegeHumor. He was recognized with a Webby and Telly Award for his co-direction and production of a rap video starring a rapping First Lady Michelle Obama.
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